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Community Choice Energy – Good for the Climate and San Jose


By A.W. Strawa

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” – Pope Francis

Over a year ago Pope Francis wrote his encyclical, “Laudato Si’ – Care of Our Common Home,” emphasizing that dialog and urgent action are needed to solve the current Ecological Crisis. Now San Jose has the chance to take action to further that goal.

The City Council of San Jose is considering a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program. Such a program would be a benefit to all Diocese parishioners, especially the underprivileged, and to the environment.

After six years of thorough study, the Council will vote as soon as March 28, 2017, and I urge all parishioners to support this important new program.
Key Benefits of Community Choice Energy:

Clean Energy: Community Choice has been shown to be the single most powerful action cities can take to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Cost: Residents will opt in to a lower rate for a cleaner energy mix than currently provided by PG&E.

Choice: Residents can choose to pay a bit more for 100% renewable energy, or opt out entirely and stay with PG&E’s higher-cost, dirtier energy mix.

Community Control: CCE’s stimulate renewable energy development projects, help create local jobs, attract business, and put competition in the energy market.

Continuity or Service: Under CCE, PG&E continues to provide essential services as a partner, delivering the electricity over existing infrastructure, maintaining the power lines, sending bills and providing customer service.

CCE’s have been successfully implemented in the counties of Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma and San Mateo as well as cities across the Bay Area. So far, all of the cities in Santa Clara County except San Jose and Milpitas have voted to form a CCE. These programs are providing hundreds of thousands of customers with cleaner energy at lower rates than the commercial utility.

The Marin County CCE has been in operation for 5 years. In that time, Marin Clean Energy (MCE) has invested over $500 million in in-state and local renewable projects totaling over 225 megawatts of new clean power and resulting in 1800 construction and related vendor jobs.

The San Jose Catholic Green Initiative supports this policy. We encourage all San Jose City Council members to vote for the program, and we encourage parishioners to contact their Council Member very soon to remind them to support this measure. More information can be found at, http://sanjosecommunityenergy.org.

CCE is a wonderful opportunity to lower the cost of electricity, particularly for our most vulnerable residents, while also protecting our fragile environment so that we can leave our children and grandchildren a healthy climate. We hope you will join us and voice your support of this very important program.
A.W. Strawa, Co-Chair Catholic Green Initiative Office of Social Ministries for the Diocese of San Jose.